To the editor:
I would like to respond to the article by Zac Taylor about hunting wolves in the states surrounding Yellowstone National Park (YNP) by offering the following thoughts – none of which are politically correct:
1.) This obviously biased piece plays the “emotional card” by tugging at people’s heart strings. We should be perfectly clear with the facts – wolves are classified as a game animal with populations subject to control measures via strict hunting/trapping regulations in each of the surrounding states. This situation came about after years of failed litigation, often involving frivolous lawsuits filed to prevent state management. The wolves referenced in the article were legally killed by licensed hunters during a legal hunting season outside the boundaries of YNP.
2.) I seriously doubt that many (if any) of the “wolf advocates” have ever seen a wolf pack pursue an elk herd, isolating a cow or calf and then chasing it down for the “kill.” Some members of the pack run up from behind the targeted animal, biting the rear legs to hamstring it while other members grab the elk’s throat to drag it down for the kill. At that point, regardless of whether the animal is alive or dead, the pack begins feeding on it. That’s the reality of nature, so let’s stop pretending this is a Bambi movie.
I recognize that YNP and the “iconic” animals the tourists come to see include wolves and grizzlies. There is no doubt about the significant economic impact from tourism for all the local economies in the surrounding area. But, there is no mention in the article of the negative impacts caused by either livestock losses or reduced wildlife populations (deer, elk) cause by predation.
If YNP or the wolf advocacy groups feel that strongly about wolves being hunted outside the Park, then I would suggest they pay the costs of fencing the perimeter of the Park to keep them safe. That being said, I’m waiting for the next headline, “Park trout caught by fishermen in WY.”
(s) dave engelhardt